Blog #4: Our Glorious Chairman Mao

Today was going to be our last day in Beijing. We visited Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven, so it was certainly a packed day. Walking through Tiananmen Square was the weirdest feeling because we all know what happened there, but almost no one in China knows about it. I remember walking along the street where the Tank Man picture was taken and that was a truly creepy feeling. There were also cameras looking in every possible direction in the square. There were lamp posts with 10-15 cameras on each of them. There probably wasn’t a single spot there where you weren’t being watched.

Tiananmen Square was also really cool to walk through because it’s just a wide-open area with almost nothing in it besides people. The portrait of Mao was cool to see too because it really is just iconic. I’m really glad we got to visit Tiananmen Square.

After walking through Tiananmen Square, we ended up at the entrance to the Forbidden City. The Forbidden City was way bigger than I previously thought it was. I figured it would just be a few buildings, but it really is like walking through a small city. The architecture was beautiful there! I don’t know how to explain what if feels like walking through the Forbidden City, but I will say that it just feels good to see everything.

It took us a while to walk all the way through it, but once we got out, we all went for a ride in some rickshaws. We rode through the Hutong area which is a neighborhood in Beijing where the houses are the old-style houses with multiple buildings and a courtyard in the middle. We actually got to visit one of those homes which was awesome to see! The house we visited opens their doors to visitors and you can tell they’ve had a lot as they had souvenirs from people all over the world.

After the Hutong area, we went to go eat some lunch. It was the typical Chinese style meal. It was very delicious as always! And this time we got served a full chicken, head and all! From lunch, we left for the Temple of Heaven. Before checking out the temple, however, we all got to take part in a Tai Chi class. I thought it was a little goofy, but I could see how it can be relaxing. If only I was actually good at it.

The Temple of Heaven was absolutely beautiful. I don’t know whether the Forbidden City or the Temple of Heaven was prettier. I believe the way it’s set up is there was the main temple in the middle with some other temples surrounding it. I think that each temple corresponds with a different god. The Temple of Heaven was where the emperor would go to confer with the gods.

After we all got back on the bus, we realized we had lost Matt! Know had seen him since we first got to the temple, so no one knew where he was. Luckily, he found his way back. That could have been way worse than it was. And with that, that was the end of our day. Beijing was a blast, but it’s onward to Xi’an!

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